Seated meditation features highly in Tendai Buddhist practice, the main meditation practice being shikan or śamatha / vipaśyanā. We also practise the nembutsu that is the recollection of the enlightened properties of the Buddha through visualisation or mantra recitation, esoteric rituals, shōmyō, walking meditation, mountain circumambulations, and others. Both laity and priests will also carry out a daily liturgy, twice or thrice per day.
The four main esoteric rituals are Jūhachidō, Taizōkai, Kongōkai and Goma. Jūhachidō is the ritual etiquette of inviting and making offerings to a deity. After familiarisation with the ritual etiquette, the practitioner enters the Womb World or Taizōkai , the abode of objective reality and perfect wisdom. Infused with the wisdom of the Buddha, the mind gradually prepares to enter the Diamond World or Kongōkai , the abode of subjective reality where enlightened qualities dynamically manifest as Expedient Means for the salvation of all sentient beings. Finally, the practitioner, making use of the accumulated experience, skillfully actualises compassion by lighting the fierce fire of wisdom which burns away afflictions and embraces us with its warmth.
Having presented our core practices, it is necessary to clarify that Tendai recognises the great importance of a healthy teacher / disciple relationship. For this reason, practising without guidance is generally discouraged. Concerning the esoteric elements of the Tendai curriculum, even though some of the priests active in Europe have received relevant instruction and training, they are not qualified teachers of Mikkyō. Those looking specifically for these teachings, should be ready to travel to Japan.